Mysticism as a Female Path by Mary Sharratt


Women have been sidelined and marginalized in every established institutional religion in the world. Even in alternative spiritual movements, male teachers and leaders abuse their authority toward their female students and followers. This is why women’s circles and spiritual groups are as relevant and necessary in 2020 as they ever were. Those women who can’t find spiritual community often chose to go it alone on a solitary path. But they are not entirely alone–they follow in the footsteps of a long ancestral line of female seekers and mystics, who rejected a life of slavish obedience to male authority figures in order to contemplate the deep mysteries of the soul on a path of inner revelation.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines mysticism as the belief that there is hidden meaning in our existence, that every human being can unite with the divine. The American Dictionary states that mysticism is the belief that it is possible to directly receive truth or achieve communication with the divine through prayer and contemplation. Continue reading “Mysticism as a Female Path by Mary Sharratt”

How Can Change Happen If We Can’t Imagine It First? by Darla Graves Palmer

More than one hundred years ago, a small group of women joined together and decided to create their own village, one rooted in relationship and guided by spirit. They weren’t the first such women-led town in the country – there was a web of sister villages throughout America, some formed as early as the seventeenth century – but Chantilly Lace was unique. Rising out of the dust of an abandoned Gold Rush era in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, a time when many women were abandoned by men seeking further adventures or widowed when husbands lost their lives in the mines, this mostly female community determined its own fate. Now the modern women (and a minority of men) faced new challenges in the twenty-first century: how would they adapt and thrive?

If this had been true, how might things be different now for all of us?

The above sets the stage for a fictional series of books I’ve been writing (the first book is complete). The locale was always going to be a small town in the Rockies (because I’ve lived there), but the broader ideas about the town’s development have been evolving steadily, especially since the last presidential election. I keep asking myself how a culture based upon principles of peace and values of belonging, established firmly upon a spiritual core, might function in our capitalist patriarchy.

How can change happen in real life if we can’t imagine it in fiction? I’m challenging myself to make it happen.

Continue reading “How Can Change Happen If We Can’t Imagine It First? by Darla Graves Palmer”

The Medieval Beguines: Models for Spiritual Agency Today by Cynthia Garrity Bond

In a recent article from U.S. Catholic, Common Law lawyer Karen Gargamelli and her newly founded lay community Benincasa are profiled.  Established in New York’s Upper West Side, Benincasa, is named and patterned after 14th century mystic and theologian, Catherine of Siena. It was established as house/retreat center, the emphasis of which is placed on prayer and the pursuit of social justice.

While Gargamelli practiced housing law she found it difficult to incorporate an ethos of Christian justice and spirituality into a secular matrix of thought.  At the same time, living alone in a studio apartment, Gargamelli also felt an alienation and lack of spiritual support from her local parish.  “I have a sense that before my time parishes were places where people felt supported,” laments Gargamelli, “I don’t know that the parish is really a home base anymore.”  Gargamelli  cites the Church’s focus on sacraments, along with less emphasis on theological reflection/adult education, as perpetrators of her spiritual malaise.  Continue reading “The Medieval Beguines: Models for Spiritual Agency Today by Cynthia Garrity Bond”

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